Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale
“A healing portrait drawn in epic ink strokes.”―ElleWhen Belle Yang was forced to take refuge in her parents’ home after an abusive boyfriend began stalking her, her father entertained her with stories of old China. The history she’d ignored while growing up became a source of comfort and inspiration, and narrowed the gap separating her―an independent, Chinese-American woman―from her Old World Chinese parents.
In Forget Sorrow, Yang makes her debut into the graphic form with the story of her father’s family, reunited under the House of Yang in Manchuria during the Second World War and struggling―both together and individually―to weather poverty, famine, and, later, Communist oppression. The parallels between Belle Yang’s journey of self-discovery and the lives and choices of her grandfather, his brothers, and their father (the Patriarch) speak powerfully of the conflicts between generations―and of possibilities for reconciliation.
Forget Sorrow demonstrates the power of storytelling and remembrance, as Belle―in telling this story―finds the strength to honor both her father and herself.
With a lilting voice and a strongly etched fairy tale hand, writer/artist Yang weaves a riveting true-life tale of ancestral jealousies and familial woes from her father's recollections of growing up in China. Her book begins with Yang in her 20s, recently graduated from college but unable to get herself out into the world, wounded by self-doubt and bad memories of an ex-boyfriend turned stalker. Back living with her immigrant parents in Carmel, Calif., Yang listens to her father's stories about his grandfather, a man of wealth and stature whose many feuding sons left the family dismally ill-prepared for the winds of change that WWII and Mao's revolution sent violently whipping through the land. Betrayal and infighting pockmark these stories of woe, though they're buttressed with an appreciation of an uncle's Buddhist disavowal of material possessions or desires. Yang's story, which balances her own struggles with those of her ancestors without clumsily trying to equate them, echoes both with the tragic darkness of King Lear and the clean austerity of classical Chinese poetry. (May) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Children's book illustrator-author Yang neatly layers family history across several generations in this graphic memoir. Returning to her parents in China in the wake of a stalking ex-boyfriend's threats, she attends to teasing out the details of family stories she has often heard but never deeply asked about. She wants to know how her grandfather's family dynamics during his youth echoed down the generations, the effects of Mao on the family's social as well as economic fortunes, the roles women have played and been denied traditionally, and her own father's progressive and loving attitudes. Rather than approaching this in a linear manner, Yang spins out the story in concentric eddies and whorls, an excellent reverberation of her black-ink style, with its repetitious patterns and unusual angles of vision. This is an excellent book for those intrigued by family stories or by the history of twentieth-century China as well as anyone who likes memoirs made more dynamic by incorporating more than just the writer's perspective on events. --Francisca Goldsmith --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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